My Favorite Gun: 1903 Mannlicher-Schönauer (M-S) Carbine
We’re asking Outdoor Life readers to tell us about their favorite gun and to share their stories in the magazine...
We’re asking Outdoor Life readers to tell us about their favorite gun and to share their stories in the magazine and online. To share your own favorite gun, email us your photo and story to firstname.lastname@example.org. Kicking off this series, Doug Eurom tells us why his is a classic:
My favorite gun is my Model 1903 Mannlicher-Schönauer (M-S) carbine. It is, in so many ways, perfection.
It sports a silky-smooth, split-bridge Mannlicher action. The swept, butter-knife-handled bolt is meant to be finessed, not grasped. The delicate walnut stock continues in graceful lines until it reaches a German silver muzzle piece that matches the trigger guard and pistol-grip cap. It’s top-quality without being gaudy. The pronounced drop at comb gives me a clear view across iron sights. The flip-up sight adjustments let me instantly calibrate a shot out to 300 meters without having to move from the shooting position.
At 5 ½ pounds, the 1903 M-S is a big-game rifle with little recoil and exceptional accuracy. The double-set trigger is incredibly smooth and light.
The 6.5×54 moves a 160-grain bullet at 2,330 fps. The projectile’s sectional density and drag coefficient make it hard-hitting at distance. This cartridge was used by W.D.M. Bell and others in Africa for taking elephants and Cape buffalo. Modern offerings achieve the same level of penetration with brute power that the 6.5×54 achieves with ballistic balance.
Fitted with Schönauer’s rotary magazine, the carbine accepts five-round stripper clips (see photo above), a style made obsolete when manufacturers made way for top-mounted optics. But there is no faster way to transfer cartridges from the pouch to the magazine. Once the gun is loaded, pressing a small button on the receiver rail unloads the magazine back into the shooter’s hand, faster and more cleanly than a hinged floor plate does.
My 1903 M-S is no safe queen or museum piece. The checkering is worn, and its 10 decades are evident. A modern butt pad spoils its value for collectors, but the bore is bright. From generation to generation, the mechanics of the gun have been attended to. It’s a shooter, and I’ll use it to take more boar and deer, and perhaps even elk, before passing it on to its next companion.
Tell us about your favorite gun!
Whether it’s an heirloom shotgun handed down through generations, the handgun you rely on for personal protection, or your go-to hunting rifle, we want to know the story behind your favorite gun. Email us your photo and story to email@example.com, or share them with us via Facebook.